18th April – Match Reports

Two Match Reports from yesterdays game with the first one received off Dave Challoner regarding their match against Clarendon.

St Andrews’ Netherton 3 vs 2 Clarendon

Super-sub Ben Davies’ late winner fired St Andrew’s Netherton to a dramatic win over Clarendon to move them one step closer to the league title and maintain their 100% record in the West Midlands Christian Football League.
The experienced technician picked out the far corner from the left side of the penalty area in a way only he could execute with just minutes left to seal a league double over their opponents.
Kevin Marsh and Rion Mills also found the net either side of half-time as Dave Chall’s men made it six from six, strengthening their position at the summit.
St Andrew’s were pushed all the way though by an athletic and determined Clarendon, and it was the visitors who struck first at Highgate. An unopposed cross from the right was headed into the bottom corner from ten yards out with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
But the title-chasers hit back immediately. An intelligent corner delivered to the front post by skipper Chris Hunter was flicked on towards the middle of the goal by Mathew Waterhouse, where centre-half partner Marsh was waiting to nod into an empty net.
Warren Grant and Rion Mills were introduced to the action from the bench, and the attacking duo were on hand to create and finish off St Andrew’s’ second goal. A lovely through ball found Grant on the left side of the box who squared it for Mills for a simple tap in.
But that lead lasted less than 15 minutes. The ball landed at the feet of the Clarendon winger after St Andrew’s cleared the cross. He managed to skip past one defender and as Keegan came out to block the shot, the ball rebounded up and over the ‘keeper’s head to nestle in the net.
But St Andrew’s, keen to dispel pre-season claims they “flatter to deceive”, (edit: Kovacs Kolumn 3rd October, Season Preview), showed the character, grit and resolve which has seen them become a much-improved collective outfit in 2020/21 to earn a deserved winner.
Davies dinked his way into the penalty area and caught the Clarendon stopper completely off guard, stroking beyond him into the corner to spark celebratory scenes involving players, managements and the rest of the squad watching on.

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The second Match Report comes from Pete Bennett from Rowley College who faced Chawn Hill Church

Chawn Hill Church 2 vs 0 Rowley College

Great to be out in the sunshine in Stourbridge this morning in what was, as it always is, a properly competitive game against Chawn.  It’s perhaps an indication of the loosening of lockdown that we had half a team unavailable today due to work commitments: it was touch and go on Friday evening whether we’d have eleven!  Thankfully with JJ and Andy coming in as emergency signings and Billy and Connor getting free of work we were adequately covered as you have to be against one of the most consistent teams in the WMCFL.

Games between Rowley and Chawn have recently been low scoring affairs with the team scoring first usually winning and this ultimately turned out to be the case today.  Let me say immediately that Chawn deserved to win today, they had the balance of the game , particularly in the first half, but we certainly had the better chances and have only ourselves to blame for taking nothing from the game.

We started well up the slope and Shola had a header excellently saved by their keeper early doors but were soon pushed back by a Chawn side strong and artful on the ball.  Chris and Andy were working hard at centre back and were struggling a little for numbers in the middle of the park.  They might have had a penalty when Curtis went down in the box but otherwise there was more pressure than threat.  We tried to play on the break and Brad had a good half but it was largely about containment and waiting for the turn around.  Sadly we were undone just before half time by the first of two excellent deliveries that won Chawn the game.  This first one was from a direct free kick and delivered perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty for their lad to force home from a yard out.  Even then Ben had a back post header wide from a decent cross to underline we had something to play

We reshaped at half time to 4-5-1 to give ourselves more purchase in the middle and the game became much more even and when JJ entered the fray and livened things up we started to look the more dangerous side.  Unfortunately in the meantime the second excellent delivery from the left gave the same lad (Shola?  We had one on each side) a chance to make it two via his shoulder and ear.  I certainly wasn’t confident that we’d get back into the game but with JJ, Connor and Jack committed to attack  it seemed likely we could score and then who knows?  Who knows, indeed because we just couldn’t get the first despite Connor having a terrific effort just wide and then Ben and jack squandering our chance of a point.  Firstly JJ ran across the Chawn defence and slipped in  Jack who cut if back past the diving goalkeeper to Ben six yards out before the proverbial ‘empty net’: somehow it got away.  Then to confirm our defeat Jack stepped up to attempt his second Panenka, a week after last week’s success and chipped it over the bar.  Two games back I have no criticisms of our lads, particularly in the second half where Matt Stanton won everything in the air and effort was great.  Andy Mac was our man-of-the match today.

Good luck to Steve and his boys and thanks as always to the officials.

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